NEW YORK.- Museum of the Moving Image and Mezco Toyz, a leading manufacturer of licensed merchandise, today announced the establishment of an annual donation of film- and television-related toys and materials to the Museum’s collection. Among the artifacts in the inaugural gift are conceptual sketches and
action-figure prototypes for Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, a film directed by Guillermo del Toro currently showing in theaters. The Museum will continue to receive a donation of merchandise and production materials from Mezco, every year.
“Among licensed merchandise, toys are among the most powerful tools, as well as the most desirable objects, used in the marketing of movies, television shows, and video games,” said Rochelle Slovin, director of Museum of the Moving Image. “We are grateful for this commitment from Mezco Toyz to donate their popular action figures and also, very significantly, the one-of-a-kind prototypes that are created during the design process.”
The only museum dedicated to the art and industry of all of screen culture, from the earliest silent films to today’s video games, Museum of the Moving Image includes a collection of more than 130,000 artifacts from motion pictures, television, and digital media. Among these, the Museum’s licensed merchandise holdings are particularly noteworthy with more than 17,000 artifacts dating from 1914 to the present. Highlights include an extremely rare, original Shirley Temple doll (c. 1934); more than 150 artifacts relating to Our Gang films dating from 1922 through 1944; and a collection of 1,200 action figures, toys, board games, housewares, and other items from every Star Trek television series and all 10 motion pictures. The Museum provides access to the collection through its website, exhibitions, and education programs.
Among the items in the Mezco gift are materials that show the process of designing and producing licensed toys. They include ten conceptual sketches and five "first mold" prototypes of Hellboy 2’s main characters: Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz, Wink, and Prince Nuada. Drawn by Mezco design-team member Michael Pasquale and digitally colored, these sketches represent one of the first steps in the process of turning characters from film into action figures. Between these initial conceptual drawings and the sculptor's final rendering of the proposed action figure, there is a constant dialogue between the toy designers and the film licensor. Specific requirements are set by the licensor pertaining to the action figure's size, accessories, and overall aesthetic, which must be respected by the designers. In addition, an action figure based on a live-action character must also be approved by the actor whose likeness is depicted.
The five Hellboy 2 action-figure prototypes are the first plastic models made by the factory based on “final sculpt” resin models. The primary purpose of these models is to test the movable joints of the action figures, as well as to assess any sculptural details that need refinement. As such, these models are poured from leftover scraps of plastic from previous action figures, resulting in the models' irregular coloring. After approval from Mezco, the factory moves into production, wherein the final version of the action figures are poured from either vinyl or injection plastic and painted. These five prototypes can be viewed on the Museum's online Collection Catalog at http://collection.movingimage.us/index.php?search=Mezco.
Mike Drake, Director of Special Projects at Mezco, said, “The Museum of the Moving Image is such a unique institution and a perfect partner for us. In the Museum’s collection, our toys will be preserved for future generations. Moreover, the public will be able to see the toys in the context of movie and TV merchandising.”
In addition to the Hellboy 2 materials, the Mezco gift includes a wax head and resin models of the head and torso of a King Kong action figure relating to Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005). These models, combined with an earlier gift from Mezco featuring prototypes of full King Kong figures, illustrate the step-by-step story of how action figures are designed and manufactured.
Other previous donations from Mezco include toys and prototypes relating to the major motion pictures Hellboy (2004) and The Warriors (1979), and the animated television series South Park and Family Guy.